Help Black Males to Stop Smoking

Jul 24, 2002

In the study of 600 adult black smokers, Zyban, an anti-depressant known generically as bupropion and approved for helping people stop smoking, was more effective than a placebo, reports the Associated Press.

After seven weeks of treatment, 36 percent of Zyban users had quit compared with 19 percent of the placebo group. Both groups also participated in eight sessions led by black counselors. Quit rates dropped after participants used up their seven-week supply of pills. However, at 26 weeks, rates were still higher among the Zyban users.

Researchers at University of Kansas say the findings are significant because blacks have higher rates of smoking-related disease and deaths than whites. Black men are at least 50 percent more likely than white men to get lung cancer, and they have a higher lung cancer death rate – 100.8 deaths per 100,000 compared with 70.1 per 100,000 for white men, according to government data. Also, blacks tend to smoke cigarette brands with higher levels of tar and nicotine.

The study funded by the National Cancer Institute appears in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Zyban-maker GlaxoSmithKline provided the pills. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Neal Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco said that the use of black counselors and ethnically sensitive counseling materials probably contributed significantly to the results and are resources not available to many smokers.

Moderator Comment: Should retailers be more active promoting smoking cessation with employees and consumers? Do retailers have an obligation to be more actively involved in promoting whole health programs when serving known at-risk demographic groups?

We realize that all people are at-risk when it comes
to smoking-related ailments and disease. Some groups such as African-American
males, for example, are more at risk according to the National Cancer Institute
and other medical authorities. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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